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Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

Firstly, I must apologise for the lack of a Thursday post. I got caught up in a lot of things this week and never got around to sharing anything. I thought about doing something on Friday but the moment passed and now it’s Sunday so there’s no point trying to catch it up!

Now that’s out of the way…

I was reading last week’s post about Fred needing an outing and this week he has had a little adventure. For reasons best left in the Jurassic period where Fred currently resides, he is running away from a huge fire and has just shared his plan for survival with a very patronising adult who keeps patting him on the head.

Despite the temerity of this adult Fred is nevertheless willing to help out and get everyone to safety, even if no-one realises he is playing any part in the rescue efforts…

I scrapped his trip to Stonehenge though.  He wasn’t enjoying the journey and is going to a zoo instead…

What I had also intended to do this week was to set myself some writing exercises to build on the work I have done regarding plot and structure. That hasn’t worked out as I planned and I need to set it up better. The suggestion is to set aside an hour each week for an individual task on generating plotting ideas. In a few weeks I’d look at what I’d got and dispose of the rubbish and keep anything with possibilities. I want to do it but I have not had a quiet, uninterrupted time to do it this week.

I will make one next week, even if I have to unplug the phone!

In other news – I am seriously considering another writing course, possibly focussed on editing through to (self?) publication. I have thought a lot about why my completed novel hasn’t been picked up by an agent and a big part of me thinks I need to put that idea aside and move on. However, the part of me that thinks a dream should be pursued thinks I should do what I need to do to get there.

Anyway, to cut a long story short I found a course with seemingly very good reviews which is designed to help students pull a manuscript into the best possible order – so whether the book is traditionally or self published it is as professionally edited and presented as possible.

It’s not the cheapest course but I was prepared to spend money on learning for fun so it seems silly to begrudge spending to achieve a dream.

I will do some more research and see if this is the best option for me and let you know!

Until next time,
Happy writing,
EJ
🙂

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This weekend, I went to my first ever writing convention, one that was focussed on crime writing in various formats.

There were three of us from the writing group in attendance, and I think we all took away different things from the day. I found it very useful in terms of crime writing, of course, but I also picked up a lot of general points about how to get the most from my page.

There was a panel discussion on publication but it wasn’t quite as helpful as I had hoped. Still, it did show me how important it is to network, because two of the three panelists with agents met them socially so didn’t have to go through the pain of repeat submissions. The other one wrote well-known crime story screenplays before branching into novels.

My learning point from that has been to get out and do the rounds because a chance conversation could be all I need!!

There were talks on police procedurals, and why some people choose not to use police in their stories; writers from overseas talking about their experiences (one of my favourite panels) and extremely prolific writers talking about why they make some of the decisions they do. The decisions seemed to be focussed on reducing the bits they find boring, like research!

Overall, it was a really good day. I limited myself to buying only three books because that seemed enough for one outing, but we did get some freebies in our goodie bags too. However, I could have spent hundreds because Ii was so keen to see what they all produced.

It has also given me a lot of food for thought for the whodunnit and I am considering a significant change to it but I will map it out first to see how it will work.

And one final point from the day – the writers there, for the most part, genuinely made me feel better about my own processes and struggles. Some plot, some don’t. Some write character plans and notes, some don’t. Some edit as they go, some don’t. Some, like me, have chosen to have a different name for their work. Most have felt like they don’t know what they’re doing at one point or another. All have their own way of approaching work. So whenever you wonder if you are doing it right – as long as you are writing, you are doing it right.

The method is entirely down to finding what works for you.

Happy writing,
EJ
🙂

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As I kind of said most of what’s been happening on Thursday, today’s post is a little shorter than normal!

This week has been all about submissions.  One thing I’m working on, and trying to improve each time, is the accompanying paperwork.

I’ve talked about the synopsis before but it’s also the covering letter, any additional short biographies and so on – all these need to be tailored.  Sometimes there are boxes on a screen to fill in, sometimes documents have to be uploaded, or emailed.  Some agents still only accept postal submissions.

For me, the key is to read the requirements at least twice before I start.  I also have to re-read everything I add at least twice at the end but that’s probably a nervous tic rather than a requirement!

Of course that doesn’t mean you won’t get caught out – when I first sent a submission out I got a response saying the agent was now focussing solely on historical fiction.  Once I contacted – the agent of a writer I thought was a great example of my tone and in the right genre – had decided to focus solely on non-fiction work.  Again, that wasn’t noted on the website or in The Writers and Artists Yearbook which had been my first port of call.

But putting those issues aside, we writers have one opportunity to catch the attention of our agent audience.  For me, that means if I don’t get a positive response I have to review how I am selling my work, and myself as a writer. I am not changing my story but I can change how I describe it, how I engage with the reader.  Even the most basic letter – a two paragraph description of myself and my story – has to be lively and capture attention.

I have to be honest and say that I’m still working on this.  But each attempt gets a little better and more natural, and that’s got to be good for the future.

Until I get picked up (or give up on being picked up) by an agent, part of my job as a writer is to keep improving, editing and revising my sales pitch, as I did the novel itself.

It will all be worth it when I get a positive response.

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

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Yep – it’s submission season once more.

I thought I’d aim for 3 a week but then my real brain came into use and reminded me that I would probably not do that, and would then feel a failure. The reality is that I have to have my husband sit with me and do submissions to read things through together in case I muck it up, which limits the number I can do in a week!

I have sent it out though. And oddly, it felt much less stressful than it did two years ago, when it caused me anxious days and sleepless nights waiting for a response which never came. Now, it’s a bonus if it’s picked up, but not the end of the world if it isn’t.

There’s a lot of great writers who never get published, and a lot of terrible dross that does: it’s probably as much luck as judgement getting anywhere in the literary world!

So now I’ve started, I feel good about that, and can expend some energy on new tasks. Watch this space on that one, I have an idea and I might plan it out a bit with you guys!

You may have noticed it is another very late night – I had drama group today so was out late – and I am trying to get more quality rest so I am leaving it there for tonight with an apology for two rubbish blogging days.

But I’ll be back tomorrow sharing my reading jaunts with you – watch out for a bit of a classic!

Happy writing,
EJ
🙂

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This post is unexpectedly late due to my husband getting ill, sorry about that, but he has been in need of a little tlc, and I’m going to keep this short for the same reason.

So a quick recap – last week was a positive one: editing was completed, agents were identified, appropriate synopses have been started.

I feel energised in my writing, and have a plan.

My plan involves agreeing with a friend that in 6 months, if no pick-up from agents, I will self-publish. I’m still not sure how I feel about it, but it is a plan, and it gives structure to my aimless amblings earlier in the year about what to do for the best.

It also means I can now get down to work on my next project – either a re-work of an earlier draft book or a follow-up to the one being sent out.  I have a brief timeline for the follow-up so could build on that but I kind of like the idea of revisiting something I’ve done, in my newly-positive editing mindset, and seeing whether it’s got potential to work. That is a decision for the next few days.

Yep, last week was a good week.  This week hasn’t got off to the best of starts but give it a few days and I should be back on track.

Watch this space!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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In preparation for my competition entry this week, I spent most of my time on my first novel.

Re-reading it has been really lovely. It has identified a few minor issues to tidy up, which is the task for next week, but I doubt that will take more than an hour or so.

Re-doing the synopsis has been much more time-consuming.

When I first prepared everything for agents, I followed all the guidelines to a tee, and the majority of those only allow for one page of text. Looking at that after a little time has passed showed me where I had missed a trick, in terms of building the story. I’m not sure I got it right for this competition, but it is something I will definitely be focussing on over then next couple of weeks.

All this has really got me excited about the book again, so after debating my next options for a while, I am going to try to agent route again. If it’s still unsuccessful I have the option to self-publish, and I will prepare for that too.

The book represents a transformation in my life – giving up my career to write, building an on-line presence, creating a writing community locally. I changed my world to make it happen, and I don’t want that to be wasted.

So that’s my focus for the rest of this month. For the rest of tonight, though, I am logging off as we are in for a storm and I think my power might be compromised!

Happy writing,
EJ
🙂

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This week felt good, writing-wise.

I got my Christmas poem done, just in time for publication of the local newsletter, and despite not a lot of time to refine it I was quite pleased with how it came out. It had a rhyme scheme which isn’t my usual thing but I thought would be better for the audience who would probably be more comfortable with that style than with blank verse. It also incorporated the ideas I wanted to convey about thinking of others and kindness to each other – it was a bit less subtle than I would normally like to be but I was time-limited and quite honestly I don’t know that subtlety would have worked in any case. It’s out there now, at any rate, and I hope it gets a few people thinking and a few more enquiries about the writing group.

I have also organised the first writing group Christmas meal – following the positive feedback on Thursday, it makes me feel quite proud of how far we’ve come!

So – what next? Well, I have a lot of work to do to get me back on track with the whodunnit; I really did stop completely with this when my nana got ill and I haven’t gone back to it. I want to get this completed before Christmas and move on to something else.

Specifically, I want to move on to my completed novel: re-read it, polish it where required, and decide on its future. I have an idea, a plan if you will, but it’s going to take a bit of time so I want a clear run at it. I don’t want the whodunnit hanging over it making me feel like I need to rush or that I have to split my attention.

I also want to review my poetry – I have a lot of bits of poems in folders and on my computer and I need to organise them into a proper portfolio of work, then start doing more open mike events and performances.

That’s probably my New Year Resolution in a nutshell – do more with the writing I’ve done!

So this has been a good week, because I’ve finished a piece and submitted it to the human gaze; I had a positive writing group; I made some writing decisions.  Next week, I need to have a good week closing in on the whodunnit ending so I can put it away and go back to my firstborn novel.

For the first week in ages I produced something in my writing time, and I want to build on the buzz that has given me.

Roll on next week!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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It’s about 10.20pm and I’ve just got in from my writing group. It was a bit of an odd evening, but it was a good night.

It seems a long time ago when I decided that I should set up my own group to meet my own desires, and someone said something today that really made me proud.

They have published their book via Amazon and have sold a number of copies, both print and Kindle, and they said they wouldn’t have done it without the group. They may have written without us, but we were the catalyst for publishing this year, for just getting their work out into the world.

It’s amazing what a writing support group can achieve – people writing and performing poetry for the first time in their lives; people writing their first novels; people publishing their own works.

I really do think having a network of like-minded people can do a writer wonders – and if you can’t find what you want, build it yourself!

Happy writing,
EJ
🙂

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Yesterday I couldn’t write about writing.

Today, I’m going to share a conundrum with you.

Long time readers will know that my writing dream has been to find an agent, get picked up by a publisher and have my books, beautifully bound, on a bookshop shelf. Longtime readers will also know that this particular dream has not yet come true.

Enter my friend, who has offered to help me publish my novel as an e-book, via his company. I have the offer of cover art, a technologically intelligent adviser, and a way to publish through an actual company rather than by myself.

I have previously acknowledged that I prefer to write poetry to prose – I am immensely proud of my book, but I haven’t been able to successfully produce another yet and when I have the choice I choose poetry over a story. This may mean I only ever write one book, and it would be lovely for people to actually read it.

But do I accept my dream is subject to the reality of the writing world at this time, or do I hold on? Do I stick, or twist?

There are some self-published works that capture the attention of mainstream publishers, but they are the tiniest minority. If I go for it myself, I am saying that my book may never be in a bookshop, may never be picked up, its pages turned.

But if I don’t my book may stay as a document in a file forever, and there’s no point to that at all. Every day, we are shown how short life is by way of news stories and personal losses, and I wonder what I am waiting for.

This is the year of doing: I have tried new things, accepted new challenges and taken new opportunities. The question now is whether this opportunity is the right one to take.

A decision needs to be made, and I need to be brave and make a choice.  I’m not entirely sure I like that feeling.

But at least I have the chance to make a choice, and that in itself is something to celebrate.

Happy writing,
EJ
🙂

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Well, following on from last Sunday’s post, I am officially an employee once more.  I can no longer say I have given up the 9-5 to write, as such, because here I am going back to something similar.  Perhaps fewer hours per week, but the principle remains the same – it is the end of my writing life in its current form, at least for a while.

Since I gave up work I’ve studied creative writing, written a complete novel, drafted another and am bashing out a third; I run a small but successful writing group; I have performed my poetry to the public. So those are successes and show that I have made something positive of my time off.  In non-writing terms, I have become heavily involved in a local charity which is something I would never have done if I was still in my old role – this is also something that brings me a great deal of satisfaction and a sense of being part of my community.

So what changed from the start of my journey?  Well, I didn’t enjoy writing short stories so my original idea of sending them off regularly got pushed aside to make way for novels; that ended my plan of earning regularly through writing which has led me to where I am now!  I haven’t found an agent willing to take on my slightly contentious story and have not yet reached the point where I want to pursue self-publishing.

In my more confident moments I think I can carry on as I am, much as I suggested last week.   My desire to write hasn’t ended, it’s just how I use my time (and the amount of time I have) that’s shifted.

It’s another new beginning which is exciting in its own right – and after this one there will be another in November when  I get married.  In fact, life is full of them.

The reality is I’ll probably do less writing than I hope, but more than I did before my break – and that will be enough for now.  When I get into the swing of work again I can assess everything and see what I can manage.

I can’t feel too bad even if  the writing life has changed – I wouldn’t give up these four years for anything, nor the joy I have found in them.  What matters most now is that I remember I’m a writer, and keep getting those words on paper.

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

 

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